There’s always more.

This time, it’s more inconsistency. But it could just as easily have been more hypocrisy, more arrogance, or more non-accountability.

The members of the school board club and their hand-picked administrators with no accountability have decades of experience working the system. They know from this experience that talking too much only gets you into trouble. So when a reporter from the Daily Pilot calls to comment on a pension scheme for the Deputy Supt., they know to answer only the question that has been asked in as few words as possible.

They’d all make very good witnesses in a trial.

But once in awhile someone does talk too much. Lack-of-Trustee Vicki Snell talked too much on Facebook a little while ago and got into a bit of a jam. At least she spoke up, even if she made things worse: Not one of her colleagues has penned commentary in the Daily Pilot in four years. After a record amount of scandals and bumbling, not one of the lack-of-trustees thinks enough of taxpayers to write anything in the community’s newspaper. That’s how much they think of you. That’s how much respect they have for the hard-earned tax money you give them so they can devise shelters and perks for administrators who are already overpaid.

At the last rubber-stamping school board club meeting, there were some comments by lack-of-trustee Martha Fluor on some book she read or some session she attended and she was trying to explain that the author or speaker had made a big deal about describing students who are “of poverty” vs. students who are “in poverty” and why it’s important to make the distinction. As I sat there, i thought of the students in poverty and how they really could not care less whether some comfortable Newport Beach resident describes him as “in” or “of” poverty. Should it matter? No – it’s just more gobbledegook.

She went on to describe how some school figured out a workaround for kids in/of poverty by realizing that the students may not be able to do homework (Side note: There’s plenty of reliable evidence showing that homework does not help academic performance for any kid.). Some of these schools have installed washers and dryers on campus, though I missed the rationale for that, and others prepare backpacks with food for these kids. Fluor finished it up by saying, “There are some fascinating opportunities for us to discuss.”

My dollars to your doughnuts that her comments will be the last you’ll hear of washers and dryers on campuses and of eliminating homework to see if it improves academic performance. But that’s how it works when you are a member of the school board club: Just mentioning something passes for progress.

Washers and dryers and no homework and backpacks of food? Yeah, right. They just spent that money paying one bureaucrat to skip retirement.

But it’s possible that it’s a waste of time anyway, at least according to what Supt. Frederick Navarro has pondered.

I wrote in February that Supt. Frederick Navarro (who, I believe, still makes less than his deputy supt.) heard a presentation by a lawyer who has a theory about education. I wrote:

“According to Frederick Navarro, Papillon offered that, ‘Apparently the conditions associated with poverty, micro aggressions [sic], violence and discrimination may cause physiological changes in children that not only affect the current generation, but also may affect several generations that follow.’

“Supt. Frederick Navarro states that  ‘Ms. Papillon posits that the students who live in poor neighborhoods, where crime and violence are regular occurrences, may in fact suffer changes to their DNA that alters the working of their brains. Furthermore, she stressed that addressing these changes to a person’s DNA can take up to three generations to correct, and then, only if you can successfully remove families from the oppressive conditions under which they live.'”

He closed by writing that he has “much more to learn about this theory” and that the theory is “one that we need to explore more deeply.”

That was over two months ago. Anyone want to guess to whether Supt. Frederick Navarro has explored this theory more deeply?

I didn’t think so.

So two months ago, Supt. Frederick Navarro is all over a theory that poor kids can’t learn because their brains are wired differently and last week, one of the lack-of-trustees is pondering washers and dryers on campuses.

This is why they don’t speak up any more than they have to. That, plus the fact that they rarely have anything of substance to say.

Steve Smith

 

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